Northeast State’s faculty senate recommends president placed on administrative leave

BLOUNTVILLE, TN (WJHL) – The Faculty Senate at Northeast State Community College is requesting the Tennessee Board of Regents to place its school’s president on administrative leave.

In a letter dated April 4, 2017, senate asks that President Janice Gilliam be placed on administrative leave, with pay and benefits until the end of an investigative audit.

The letter states:
The Faculty Senate of Northeast State Community College has actively attempted to work with Dr. Gilliam on issues of shared governance for at least two years. Since Dr. Denley’s visit to campus on March 8th, this endeavor has continued on our part; however, shared governance is not at the heart of Dr. Gilliam’s leadership style. For this reason, and based on TBR policy 5:01:01:03, the Faculty Senate at Northeast State Community College would like to request that Dr. Janice Gilliam be placed on administrative leave, with pay and benefits, until he conclusion of the investigative audit.

The letter highlighted the examples that lead to their vote of no-confidence against Dr. Gilliam:

According to the letter:

  • “Dr. Gilliam continues to make decisions that jeopardized the financial stability of the institution.“
  • “Dr. Gilliam is pushing for NES to be in Cohort 1 of the shared service agreement. This decision is being made even though Dr. Gilliam’s leadership is in question.”
  • “Dr. Gilliam has moved to realign Academic Affairs personnel using incorrect TBR and NES policies and has disregarded the advice of our former Vice-President for academic affairs.”
  • Dr. Gilliam created “atmosphere of distrust and a culture of fear on campus…”
  • Dr. Gilliam misrepresented the “magnitude of the faculty’s disapproval of her leadership.”

Click here to read the letter and emails in full.

Janice Gilliam (Source: WJHL)

The TBR recommended a moratorium on spending for the University from April 1 to the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Nona Shepherd, Vice President of Northeast State Community College’s Faculty Senate said that with leadership in the balance, the Faculty Senate is concerned that decisions are going to be made now that will effect the next academic year.

“We’re concerned how that’s going to effect campus and how it’s going to effect operations and so given that situation and the waiting on the TBR investigation, we were like we need to make sure we’re kind of putting our voice out there and letting them know from grassroots we’re still invested in this,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd said the moratorium on spending could effect things like equipment, supplies and travel for next school year. The Faculty Senate hopes next year can be seen in a different light.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings issued the following statement on Wednesday:

There is an ongoing investigation into the issues raised by the Faculty Senate in early February. The allegations raised are complicated and serious, and investigating them takes time. Some interim actions have already been taken. The moratorium on spending cited in today’s letter from the Faculty Senate president was a recommendation by the TBR vice chancellor for business and finance and concurred with by the acting chief financial officer, whose appointment last month was one of the action steps recommended by the assigned team examining the faculty’s complaints. TBR believes the spending moratorium is a necessary step and fully supports it.

The Faculty Senate has previously stated their concerns on this matter. With all due respect to the Faculty Senate, they need to clearly understand that they do not dictate the terms of an ongoing investigation. TBR is following the appropriate policies and procedures.”

Back in February, the Tennessee Board of Regents officials revealed Northeast State Community College would implement measures in response. The measures were recommendations from a TBR team that recently visited the school following a vote of no- confidence.

Some of those measures included:

  • hiring a full-time chief financial officer
  • a review of the school’s academic affairs to ensure it is meeting ongoing demands of the college’s accrediting agency and the school
  • the TBR and faculty senate work together to “identify and implement best practices in collaboration and community between faculty, staff, college administration and others in the campus community, with a focus on student success.”

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